Have you ever visited a foreign country and had to use an interpreter to speak? It is an awkward thing, but so necessary in order to have the audience understand what you are saying. You are saying exactly what you mean, but they can’t understand without the interpreter, and you have to really trust the interpreter.
Those of us who really want to share the love of Jesus with people who don’t yet know him are aware that we need an interpreter. We can say exactly what we mean, but the looks on our friends faces tell us they don’t understand. This can happen as we lead worship as well: we can be singing an amazing song, and realize that our people are just not understanding it.
We need an interpreter!
Well, here is the good news: we have a spiritual gift for that, and it is especially designed to interpret the message in our hearts for those “who don’t understand”!
Paul explains it to the believers in Corinth when he says, “But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things [important insights, see vs. 6]come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you. (1 Corinthians 14:24-25 NLT)”
Wow, does that just blow your mind? It is has always been the heart of Enter The Worship Circle to see people who feel like outsiders come into close contact with the presence of God, and this passage of scripture answers our prayer. This is the gift we need so that our songs, whether rehearsed or spontaneous, can be interpreted into the ears of those who are hearing: it is the gift of prophecy.
We were actually glad to find out this was the responsibility of a spiritual gift, and not dependent on our best efforts. Whew! That really takes a load off. So now we can grow our skills in hospitality, use common language and communicate well, but still totally depend on the Holy Spirit to bridge the gap—to do the real work of making spiritual truth known to those who don’t yet understand. We are really learning to trust our interpreter.
Revelation 19:10b says this to explain the essence, the juicy center of prophecy, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” That does not sound complicated, nor does it sound spooky. Giving a clear witness for Jesus is for everyone, that is why Paul says that everyone can prophecy. Let’s get to it! Here are a few tips:
Just like with any spiritual gift it is a great first step just to ask for it. Pray like this, “Holy Spirit, I receive the gift of prophecy today so all my creativity, my words, and my songs can cross over the divide and be understood by the outsider.”
Then exercise your faith in God’s quickness to grant gifts for those whose work is loving others. We exercise it like this, we expect miracles to happen in front of us as God opens the windows of heaven and pours out the revelations he has for everyone in the room—believer or pre-believer. We trust him to do it, we expect him to do it, and we refuse to strive in our own power to accomplish it.
Finally, give yourself permission to experiment with your songs and the way you sing. Because prophecy is for helping people (see 1 Corinthians 14:3) it is ok to sing to God, and to sing to people. Let’s give ourselves permission to be both vertical and horizontal, to sing to God and to one another, and to create for God and for one another. This kind of relaxed posture will let us have more fun, be more creative, and allow the amazing interpreter gift to come alive in our worship culture.